Places: River Trail Nature Center – “Snapping Turtles and Superdawgs”

River Trail Nature Center

Located in Northbrook, Illinois, along the Des Plaines river, the River Trail Nature Center is part of the greater Cook County Forest Preserve system. Native Americans once hunted bear, deer, elk and other wildlife along the banks of the winding 133 mile long river, which flows from southern Wisconsin into northern Illinois. Natives also used the slow-flowing river for travel by canoe, and for transporting goods…

The River Trail facility provides care and housing for injured wildlife, such as Red-Tailed Hawks and American Bald Eagles, while the surrounding preserve area is home to many types of native Illinois flora and fauna.

Lately I’ve felt as if I’ve been fussing a bit too much over my gear, because of all the technical problems I’ve encountered recently. Though I took three lenses with me on this brief excursion, I chose to shoot with only one – an 85mm lens. I find this helps me to focus more on the composition, and also makes me work harder to see my subjects in new and interesting ways.

On the way home, I stopped at the Superdawg drive-in, on Milwaukee Avenue in Wheeling Illinois. I know, I know… but man does not live by salads and granola alone. At least this man doesn’t…

Superdawg - you know you want to

I would have photographed the contents, but it didn’t last long.

So where does the Snapping Turtle fit into all of this? I was attempting to photograph Mallards on a log silhouetted against bright water, and was so focused on the ducks that I failed to notice another occupant resting quietly on the log to the far left, until I got home and began processing my images. Here’s a crop from the original image…


A happy surprise.

Sony NEX-5n
Voigtlander S 85/3.5


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